Dancer and Teacher Alice Shepperson shares with us her top tips for preventing injuries whilst dancing and working at home…
It’s a strange world we’re living in at the moment, where working and dancing at home seems to be the new norm for artists. I’ve found certain methods that help me with my physical and mental states, especially to aid the prevention of injury. I thought I could share some with you…
Wake up earlier
Towards the start of lockdown, I found that my body never seemed ready for class, whether that be a fitness or dance session. The most likely reason for this was that prior to COVID-19 I would do a lot of things before I began dancing around the studio: get up, potter around at home, go on public transport or in the car, get myself accustomed to the studio. All these little pedestrian actions equate to a lot of stimulation for the mind and body, which allows me to be more aware and awake for what physical exercise awaits me.
Allowing yourself more time to adjust to the day and really listening to how your body feels, gives you more time for muscles and nerves to be mobilised and activated before any physical movement happens.
Listen to your body
There are so many dance classes and workout options out there on the internet, which is great! But picking what’s right for you is key. Remember that each day is different!
One day you may feel like your body wants a rest, the next day it wants to be challenged and pushed. Listen to what your body needs and don’t judge yourself for that.
Of course, if you want to push yourself, make sure that you have someone nearby to help and are able to try new things and challenge yourself as safely as possible.
Keep it interesting
Give yourself an aim each day, week and month to focus on something different. This allows your body to receive new things and keep the versatility you had when you were exposed to different styles, methods, and artistry in the studio.
For example: one week work on shoulder stability and spine mobility; the next week work on shoulder flexibility and core strength. This helps maintain and hopefully improve certain areas your passionate about working on.
Bring stimulation to specific body parts and inspiration to your creativity.
Dedicate a space to dance
Dedicating a space to dance or train in and another space for administration work, will allow you to separate the two and maintain focus.
Marking out an area will help you stay switched on for class. I find it hard watching videos that are pre-recorded, as you don’t get any feedback. This means we must give feedback to ourselves and be perpetually present; constantly listening to our body to see if what we’re doing is correct. It’s interesting as an artist but extremely exhausting.
Working for a set amount of time in your space will help you stay focused and switch on. Switching off can easily cause injury, as effort and energy can quickly drop.
Like I mentioned before – there are many wonderful workshops and classes offered online but try to find a variety.
One thing you should try to incorporate into your weekly schedule is alignment and body conditioning. Finding controlled movement and cardio, whilst focusing on correct alignment for your own body is something that should be done at least once a week amongst your physical schedule.
If you can’t find any that match what you want or need, maybe make your own. Scour the internet for inspiration and ideas – there’s plenty of stuff out there!
If you’re still struggling on what alignment and exercises to do, then pop over to my Lengthen and Strengthen (LaS) classes that are currently taking place on Fridays. You can find the Facebook page with more info here: www.facebook.com/groups/lengthenandstrengthen
If you want to find out more about me and LaS, please go on to my website: www.aliceshepperson.com/
If you want to connect with me via social media, my Instagram handle is @aliceshepp
Thanks for reading!